Allergies and inaccessibility to ingredients can definitely make some people shy away from making or even trying some clean, green smoothie recipes. Here’s a brief list of great substitutions you can make so you can still reap the results of a clean, green protein drink!
The fiber in leafy greens help slow down the absorption of sugar from fruit, which means that eating a combination of fruit and leafy greens together is a match made in nutrition heaven. Spinach is the most mild tasting green (and the most popular green smoothie ingredient), which makes it a great leaf for beginners to add to smoothies. But we don’t want you to miss out on all the additional nutrients found in other leafy greens, so it’s time to change it up! Some benefits of rotating your leafy greens:
Being conscious of the kinds of fats you consume can give your body all the benefits to function optimally without the risks associated with ‘bad’ fats. Good fats are an essential part of a healthy diet – and healthy body!
Other fats, like canola oil and vegetable oil, are plant-based but are not considered good because they are refined at high temperatures that strip them of nutrients and destroys their omega-3 value, and often processed with the use of toxic chemicals.
The best fats to consume are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower cholesterol levels. Some are:
Unrefined coconut oil is a gift from nature that can curb your appetite, aid with digestion and be used as an immediate source of energy. When you blend coconut oil up, it can cause little chunks to form in your smoothie. To combat this, you can gently melt the coconut oil (not hot, just melted) and add to your blended smoothie by setting your blender to its lowest setting and slowly pour in the melted coconut oil. This ensures everything incorporates _ blends perfectly.
An alternative to coconut oil is MCT oil, which is also harvested from coconuts, but contains a higher concentration of medium chain triglycerides. It’s odorless, boosts digestion and doesn’t solidify when blended. Since it is super concentrated and potent, we recommend using no more than 1 tsp of MCT oil per serving in your daily smoothie.
The problem with the concept of simply counting calories is, calories can be deceiving and are not the basis for determining what’s healthy. Counting calories isn’t a practice that means we are actually eating healthy foods. For instance, an apple with almond butter may have more calories than a 100-calorie snack pack from a factory, but which snack is going to keep your body fueled and satisfied longer? Which one will provide your body with more nutrients?
Don't get me wrong, if you consistently overeat, whether it is good food or bad food, you will gain weight. So, calories do matter but it's the quality that matters most!
I’ve adopted the concept of ‘Healthy L.E.A.N. (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition) Habits for life’. I’ve found that when I focus on fueling my body with more nutrient-rich whole foods, and eat mindfully, listening to my body and being respectful of when it is full, not only does my body naturally settle into a more comfortable weight, I also feel better physically, emotionally and psychologically. It’s important to focus on nutrients, appreciating the delicious flavors you can consume in fresh, natural foods.
Although most people are aware of the benefits of eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, not everyone knows just how important protein is for your body. Protein is one of the four macronutrients that your body needs on a day-to-day basis (the other three are fats, carbs and water). Protein is essential for our bodies to work properly. The key to replacing meals with clean, green smoothies AND feeling good is to combine protein with healthy fats. This power combo will keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to make it to your next snack or meal.
Because your body burns protein slower than carbs, protein is important to prevent blood pressure spikes that can not only make you feel weak and dizzy, but can also lead to serious health issues down the road.
Another great benefit of protein is that when your body has enough, it doesn’t have to resort to burning muscle for the energy it needs so your muscles stay strong and toned. That’s why drinking a protein-rich smoothie after a workout is an excellent way of replenishing your body!
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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